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Into the Forest

Here, in the Pacific Northwest, we are tree people. Either by birth or by choice.


We retreat to the woods, finding solace along forest trails. There, we are rejuvenated. We draw strength from the wisdom revealed through these journeys along winding paths.

When Jiro Kawakita talks about his "KJ Method", the linchpin of Takashi Iba's methodology for creating pattern languages, he talks about the need to understand the philosophy, along with the practice, of his method.


Its meaning, he suggests, is deeper than simply the practice of "affinity mapping" we Americans have come to know.


Listen, he advises, listen deeply. Do not think, when facing the chaos of complexity, feel. Feel and listen with others. Over time, an essence will manifest, emerge, that can be named. An essence that holds a truth that can be shared with others. A truth that is universal.

A forest image is often used in stories to describe the confusion that heroes experience when they enter the unknown in a Hero's Journey. A place of darkness. A place of confusion. A place of fear.

Listen, Kawakita gently reminds us, listen with your heart wide open. Do not be afraid of the chaos. Sit with it. Listen in order to understand the essence of the truth that lies within. That which emerges and forms new wisdom. One that will inspire creativity and transform the creator.

As we wander forest trails we notice the trees that have fallen. Those that have had their roots heaved to the sky while they are now left dead on the ground. We notice that those which have fallen do not have deep taproots.


The trees that appear to be strongest are those with deep taproots, those roots that go far into the ground, reaching downward toward the water table, a wellspring of life hidden below.


The deeper that taproot, the more stable the tree.

Trees have two types of roots, taproots and laterals. Laterals reach out under the earth's surface and intermingle with the roots of nearby trees. Between these roots is an interstitial fungal network that allows trees to communicate with each through the transfer of water, carbon, and nutrients among trees of all species.


Allowing underground inter-tree communication and interaction.


Complex, symbiotic networks are formed that mimic human neural and social networks. There even appear to be mother trees that manage information flow. The interconnectedness helps living things fight disease and survive together. more here


In the words of Peter Wohlleben, whose book The Hidden Life of Trees opened the door to this new understanding, "Trees are very interested in keeping every member of this community alive.”

As we think about resilience, we ponder that which makes an individual tree able to resist the tormenting winds of a winter storm - its taproot - and the interstitial nature of the fungal network that allows trees and their surrounding ecosystem to all thrive together.


We explore the deeper meaning seeking wisdom. Guided by our feeling, our intuition.

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